The second part of James Taranto’s three part retrospective of the first five years of the Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web Today” column is online, focusing on the moral equivalence that’s been the mark of a few elements of the fringe far right, but a growing component of much of the post-9/11 left:
Filmmaker Michael Moore explains on his Web site that his first reaction was to think the terrorists should have killed more Republicans:
Many families have been devastated tonight. This just is not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, DC, and the planes’ destination of California–these were places that voted AGAINST Bush!
Why kill them? Why kill anyone?
Andrew Sullivan quotes Jerry Falwell as telling his fellow televangelist Pat Robertson: “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way–all of them who have tried to secularize America–I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’ ” Robertson’s reply: “Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted their agenda at the highest levels of our government.” The mirror image of the Falwell-Robertson calumny is a press release from the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which declares: “The terrorist disasters of September 11 may well have been the ultimate ‘faith-based initiative.’ ”
It’s worth noting that Falwell and Robertson both apologized, and that both remain fringe figures of the American right. Moore, on the other hand, did not apologize, as far as we remember; he did quietly remove the offending passages, and later the entire Sept. 12 posting, from his Web site. Much of the Democratic establishment later embraced Moore, as we noted recently: He had an honored seat next to former president Jimmy Carter at the Democratic Convention, and when his agitprop film “Fahrenheit 9/11” had its Washington debut, then-senator Bob Graham of Florida observed that “there might be half of the Democratic Senate here.”
Reuters’ immediate post-9/11 equivocating–“We all know that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter…To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack”–is also discussed.